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Unpublished Paper
Peirce and the Law: A New Hypothesis
ExpressO (2012)
  • Geoffrey Metcalf Turley, The George Washington University Law School

This article suggests that lawmaking should be informed by philosopher Charles Peirce's formulation of the scientific method. It tracks the development of Peirce's method into a specific, three step process: hypothesis, in which we suggest a general rule that would explain an observed phenomenon; deduction, in which we determine what real world consequents we expect to follow if our hypothesis is correct; and induction, in which we conduct experiments to see if those consequents do indeed occur. The article suggests that lawmaking should more strictly apply this method, using the legislature to make statutes that predict how the law should govern behavior and courts to test those statutes against real world fact patterns. The article surveys areas of law that lean toward and away from the scientific method, and notes the benefits of the former and disadvantages of the latter.

  • Charles Peirce,
  • the scientific method,
  • lawmaking reform
Publication Date
March 3, 2012
Citation Information
Geoffrey Metcalf Turley. "Peirce and the Law: A New Hypothesis" ExpressO (2012)
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